Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk
Narrative Style: Third person from Irene’s point of view
Synopsis: Gates back to the library start to malfunction by bursting into flames. Irene receives a message from Alberich about the future of the library. Vale has started to hit the opium in order to combat the dose of chaos he received in Venice. Irene thinks someone is trying to kill her. When another friend from Venice appears and is need of help, Irene isn’t sure what to do or who to trust.
Time on shelf: About a month.
Part of me isn’t sure why I keep reading this series. They are always okay but never more than that. The premise of the linked giant library and librarians collecting unique books from multiple universes is appealing but the actual books do not quite live up to it. I think I keep hoping the next one will be better.
One of the problems for me is a prime example of the idea of something outweighing its execution. As a librarian, Irene is able to use the language. This enables her to be able to control things by communicating to them in the language. This means that doors unlock for her and walls tumble down, to name but two examples. Great – and very clever – but for me, it quickly led to a lack of tension. Oh Irene’s in trouble but it’s okay she can use the language to get out of it. Okay, so there is some fun to be had in exactly how she uses it or how she will get of trouble if, for one reason or another, she can’t use the language but not enough. And, anyway, that is where Kai comes in.
In the first novel, we discover that Kai is a dragon who can take human form. Among his skills is his ability to control water. He can also manifest in his dragon from. So if Irene can’t save the day, you can bet Kai can. Most of the action in this book was from Irene’s point of view and she was intent on not accepting help from her friends. She runs headlong into a fight with archenemy, Alberich. Of course, Kai and Vale appear just in time to help rescue Irene. An alternate plot line from their point of view would have made this feel a bit less clumsy.
I know that one of the reasons I keep reading is the hope of some romance – either between Kai and Irene or between Vale and Irene. Cogman drops hints and she even allowed Vale and Irene a kiss this time (although it came to nothing) but there is never anything firm. I understand that it keeps readers interested but this is the third book and there is still nothing. I’m not sure I will find it necessary to carry on.
Overall, then, a reasonable adventure. The ideas, as always, are quite clever. But no overall tension. I never for one minute thought that Irene might perish. I would also like to see more of Kai and Vale as they are both as interesting as Irene. At the minute, I am unsure if I will continue. After enough time, I will probably think, well, maybe it will be better this time.